Snowmaking on Hoyt’s High

At this time of year in 2009 ORDA announced that snowmaking on Hoyt’s High — the signature expert trail on Lookout Mountain at Whiteface — would have to wait. The price tag for the project, estimated at $500,000 at that time, was too steep, when combined with reductions in state funding. Over the last two seasons, skiing on the trail has been limited to those days when the skies delivered enough natural snow to open the steep pitch.

Hoyt’s High on Feb 26, 2010

That is about to change. ORDA announced today that the construction of the snowmaking infrastructure is underway and will be completed by the beginning of the 2012-2013 ski season. From our conversation with Bruce McCulley this morning:

“We will be installing snowmaking on Hoyt’s High this summer. The pipe has started to arrive and we expect crews on site next week. This is a significant undertaking since the access is limited.

Hoyt’s is a classic expert trail with lots of twists and turns and a relatively narrow width. It has a lot of character since we essentially used the outline of the old Cloudsplitter trail when cutting this “new” trail. Cloudsplitter was cut in the early fifties as a test trail on the southeast side of the mountain, and when the ski center was moved to its current location it was allowed to re-vegetate until 2007 when we re-cut the trail. It is over 4700 feet long and has a vertical drop of around 1500 feet.

It is exciting to think that this part of the Lookout Mountain expansion will be available for our guests on a more consistent basis. Hoyt’s changes the traffic flow on the entire mountain. We also may cut an access trail into Porcupine Lodge at the top of the Lookout lift. This would be in preparation for the opening of the building as a warming hut and lunch area.  (At this time it does not appear that we will have approvals for public use of Porcupine Lodge this year.)

We also intend to expand our snowgun fleet, purchasing more low energy guns and adding a few more fan guns at different locations on the mountain.”

12 comments on “Snowmaking on Hoyt’s High

  1. Thanks for the update. This is great news. Haven’t been lucky enough to be there when it has been open but it sure looks yummy from the lift. Steep with pitch changes and not so wide the snow is going to get blown off.

  2. This makes the Lookout Lift part of the flow now. It is no longer a 1 and done lift. Being able to ski the superb constant grade of Hoyt’s adds another great expert dimension to Whiteface. The only potential bummer is the SE facing aspect plus snowmaking might make the trail subject to more freeze and thaw cycles and therefore make it a perpetually icy. I hope this does not happen.

  3. I’m very excited by this news. This will really spread out the higher end skiers leaving all the terrian in better condition. I used to teach at Pico where my favorite trails were KA and Sunset 71 which Hoyts reminds me of. Turny trails with ever changing fall lines and pitch really make you stay mentally engaged – you just can’t roll em over and go on auto pilot so you need to work a little more.

  4. This is incredible news. ORDA continues to do a great job adding excellent improvements to Gore/WF. I hope the trend continues as both mountains have so much to offer.

  5. Can’t wait to ski Hoyt’s. Steep, twisty and narrow, now thats my kind of trail! Lets hope that this winter makes up for what we called winter last season and they don’t need to use that new system very much. I’m starting to get a major ski jones going here!

  6. This is great news. My only concern is that they take great care to preserve to character of the trail when installing the pipe. In the 80s and 90s, too many of the east’s signature twisty lines were straightened out to accommodate snowmaking. I regret that I will never know the privilege of skiing classic stuff at Stowe before the guns went in, and this could be similar if done poorly. Regardless, I do think this will spread out the crowds and make Whiteface ski a lot bigger. It’s exciting news. I wonder if the discussions will be as long if/when they blow Wilmington next year… it only seems fair to offer more people a way down from the Triple.

    Let’s just hope for more snow I guess!

  7. that’s great. I guess i meant widen or remove character. I dig the little rollovers, you know!

  8. It is cool that ORDA was able to swing this investment. And we’ll take any opportunity to post that shot of Bill Borland ripping it on Hoyt’s on the first day it was (re)opened on natural snow. Photo credit: Highpeaksdrifter. Thanks HPD.

  9. Still no snow making on Hoyt’s high! What a waste! They have that lift for just one trail now. Get up off your lazy asses NY State!

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